Friday, August 24, 2007

Mr. Sulu Returns

Brace yourself, folks... classic "Star Trek" is back.

I'm not talking about the upcoming JJ Abrams "Starfleet Academy" movie, featuring new actors in the roles of Kirk, Spock and co. No, this is a the original series' "fourth season," a fan-based effort that started out admittedly cheesy and got progressively better as time went on. Now this series is boasting some serious firepower, with original Star Trek actors Walter Koenig and George Takei reprising their roles as Chekov and Sulu, original series writers and fan faves David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana behind the camera! And none other than Rod Roddenberry, son of the Great Bird of the galaxy, has given the series his stamp of approval.

The latest episode, "World Enough and Time," stars Coverage, Ink fave George Takei, whom many of you know also stars in the forthcoming CI film "Showdown of the Godz." "World Enough and Time" boasts 700 special effects shots and some amazing recreations of original series sets. Note that Paramount allows these fan-made productions provided that they do not make a profit.

To view the episodes, please visit the "Star Trek New Voyages" web site HERE.
Oscar and Emmy winners – along with the fans – team to complete Sulu STAR TREK episode begun 30 years ago

GEORGE TAKEI may be playing a hero on HEROES and serving as Howard Stern's recurring sidekick on subscription radio, but it's as the dashing Mr. Sulu, helmsman on the starship Enterprise, that he will be forever loved by the fans.

But he hardly imagined his greatest Sulu episode would come in 2007! Takei is starring in "World Enough and Time," a new STAR TREK episode produced by an amazing mix of Industry pros and fans that will be premiering at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills on August 23, 2007, with both the premiere and episode streaming real-time worldwide on the Internet – literally a world premiere.

Plus one lucky fan will win airfare to the premiere and exclusive dinner with Takei, the writers and director of the episode. (To register to stream the episode and/or enter the contest, log onto

It all began when STAR TREK – NEXT GENERATION writer MARC SCOTT ZICREE learned of STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES, a high-quality series of fan episodes that were getting millions of viewers and beating the networks at their own game.

"I recalled a terrific Sulu story my friend MICHAEL REAVES came up with for STAR TREK PHASE II, a series Paramount was going to do in the mid-70s," Zicree recalls. "After a year of building sets and buying stories, the studio made the movies instead, so the script was never written. Ironically, Michael's story had Sulu aging 30 years and raising a family on an alien planet, so it seemed perfect timing to do it now."

Zicree suggested to Reaves, an Emmy-winner and also a STAR TREK – NEXT GENERATION writer, that the two of them write the script together. He then contacted JAMES CAWLEY, producer and star of NEW VOYAGES, who eagerly agreed to their proposal.

Finally, Zicree met with Takei and pitched him the episode (the two had been friendly acquaintances since Zicree had interviewed Takei for his landmark book THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION). "I told him, 'You're a brilliant actor who never got the Sulu episode you deserved, and this is it." Zicree laughs. "He read the synopsis then and there and said, 'I'm in.'"

Utilizing the existing cast and crew of NEW VOYAGES, Zicree set about augmenting it with Industry pros from his own career on network shows, including top STAR WARS artist IAIN McCAIG (designer of Darth Maul and Queen Amidala) and Oscar and Emmy-winning makeup, effects and storyboard wizards from such TV shows and films as BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, LOST, HEROES and SPIDERMAN 3.

Guest roles included two more STAR TREK legends – GRACE LEE WHITNEY, reprising her role as Rand, and MAJEL BARRETT RODDENBERRY, Gene Roddenberry's widow, contributing her talents as the Enterprise's computer voice. Rounding out the cast was Broadway actress CHRISTINA MOSES, as Sulu's daughter Alana.

Shot in high definition with over 700 effects shots, "World Enough and Time" boasts a level of production far beyond a network show. More than that, Zicree is proud that the story works on an emotional level.

"People who see it are in tears by the end," he notes, adding that ardent fans of the episode include such noted writers as MARV WOLFMAN, creator of BLADE, and science fiction icon RAY BRADBURY.

With the world premiere finally in sight, Zicree can breathe a sigh of relief at having finished his first directorial effort (after over 100 script sales as a writer-producer). Mentors who advised him included such esteemed directors as GUILLERMO DEL TORO (PAN'S LABYRINTH), MICHAEL NANKIN (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and ROXANN DAWSON (HEROES). "But the best advice I got was from J.J. Abrams, who said, 'Pretend you know what you're doing!'"

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